Ijaw national leader, Chief Edwin Clark, Wednesday, hailed the decision by the Federal Government to set up a National Conference as the best so far taken by President Goodluck Jonathan since the inception of his administration.
Clark, who made this known in an exclusive interview he granted the Vanguard in Abuja, said that Mr. Jonathan had shamed his critics, who had previously berated him as lacking the political will to confront the nation’s woes.
According to The Ijaw leader, the proposed National Dialogue would change everything in Nigeria and give the country a new lease of life.
Clark said: “It (National Dialogue) will certainly change everything in Nigeria. I think that this the greatest thing Mr. President has done in Nigeria. People had been looking at him as one who does not have the courage to do certain things but today he has proved his critics wrong.
“Many heads of states, including military leaders, did not have the courage to establish a national conference. Some believed it would take away their powers, others thought it was a challenge to their administrations and therefore shied away from taking any action on national conference.”
The Ijaw leader, who is presently finalizing the establishment of a University of Technology in his Kiagbodo hometown in Delta State, challenged critics of the national conference to provide genuine reasons why they were against it instead of accusing Mr. Jonathan of executing a hidden agenda.
While describing opponents of the dialogue as unpatriotic, the former federal commissioner for information wondered what they hope to achieve by shying away from a golden opportunity to discuss the issues affecting Nigeria and its people.
According to him, all right-thinking Nigerians were behind President Jonathan on the account of his decision to provide a common platform for them do discuss the future of the country and bring about unity and development.
His words: “The people of Nigeria are solidly behind President Jonathan and if there is anything that has soared his rating, it is his announcement of a national conference. So, we support it. Let us sit down and discuss the basis of our existence as a country.
“We believe in one Nigeria but nobody was ever consulted when the amalgamation was done in 1914. So many things have happened and some of the people think that they are more superior to others while others feel inferior to others in their own country.
“We must therefore be bold enough to sit down and talk about revenue allocation and resource control. If I am not around others will bring them up. A situation where you have disparity in allocation of local governments and disparity in representation in the parliament not based on any known parameter, is quite unfair.”
On the nation’s 53rd independence anniversary, Clark scored Nigeria high, affirming that no African nation had fared better than the country.